Dorothy Sayers Did Not Want to Be a Prophet

Nevertheless, the saucy British writer made the pious vociferously angry.
Dorothy Sayers Did Not Want to Be a Prophet
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Between 1941 and 1944, C. S. Lewis gave a series of BBC radio talks, eventually published as Mere Christianity, that are the stuff of legend. Less well known today is a series of BBC broadcasts during the same era written by Dorothy L. Sayers: a retelling of the gospel message that Lewis himself valued highly.

Ironically, numerous evangelicals who relished Lewis’s BBC work as well-seasoned intellectual food wanted to spew Sayers’s broadcasts out of their mouths. While Lewis was lionized, Sayers received an anonymous postcard calling her a “nasty old sour-puss.” Lewis was elevated to the cover of Time, whereas some in England actually accused Sayers of causing the fall of Singapore during World War II.

Sayers’s BBC broadcasts, in fact, incited one of the biggest religious controversies in England since Henry VIII broke with Rome. Prophetically challenging the signs of her times, Sayers made the pious vociferously angry. Perhaps this reflects the kind of prophet she was: the kind who never wanted to become one in the first place.

Though a lifelong Anglican, Sayers had little interest in promoting a religious agenda. During her college years, she requested cigarettes more than spiritual advice from her parents, and she reviled student invitations to join the Christian Social Union. As she told a correspondent later in life, “I never, so help me God, wanted to get entangled in religious apologetics, or to bear witness for Christ, or to proclaim my faith to the world, or anything of that kind.” Nevertheless, she received a call that changed thousands of lives, including her own.

Transformed by Zeal

Born 125 years ago this month, Sayers had a privileged childhood. The adored only child of a ...

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